About the food of Tunisia

Bordj-el-Kebir. Photo by Thomas Kees.

Bordj-el-Kebir. Photo by Thomas Kees.

The castles in Tunisia don’t look like they are made of stone. Not European stones, anyway. Those make for grey castles – the kind most of us are familiar with.

No, Tunisian castles look like sandcastles. The soft yellow stones look like knobs of buttered polenta. Or couscous. 

I know, because this is one of the twelve countries I visited when I was a teen. I went for my senior trip (from Luxembourg, where I was living at the time).

While I was there I wanted to eat up those castles.

I mean look at this…

Fort Djerba, Tunisia. Photo by Cezary P.

Fort Djerba, Tunisia. Photo by Cezary P.

But before I ever saw the castles, I had to feel Tunisia. I stepped off of the plane, into the heat. The humidity squeezed me like a giant hug.

Not only was it hot enough to swim at 8 a.m., it was hot enough to want to.

The food was suitably refreshing. I had lots of tomato salads, grilled meats, and even grilled salads [Recipe]. In the morning, chakchouka was common, a quick fix cobbled together with simmered eggplant, peppers, onion, and sausage. Hold the eggs. On the side could be bread or couscous.

Cap Serrat, Northern Coast of Tunisia. Photo by DrFO.Jr.Tn.

Cap Serrat, Northern Coast of Tunisia. Photo by DrFO.Jr.Tn.

Like their Moroccan neighbors, Tunisians also enjoy a good tagine, filled with aromatic chicken, fish, vegetables, and more (I made a Lamb with sweet honey figs tagine for Morocco, yum).

Tunisian food employs a range of seasonings, from spicy harissa, olives, cinnamon, and coriander.

For dessert, you’ll find many people looking to cash in on sweet nibbles, like almond honey samsa [Recipe]. Others love a big jolt of coffee. When I was there, in 1999, coffee shops were a favorite pastime for the men’s social hour (rather like the smoking room used to be in America).

Djerba, Tunisia. Photo by SuperManu.

Djerba, Tunisia. Photo by SuperManu.

Have you been to Tunisia?

What do you love about Tunisian food?

Maps and flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook. Photo of Landscape in Tozeur–Nefta International Airport (Tunisia), by Gloumouth1.

Maps and flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook. Photo of Landscape in Tozeur–Nefta International Airport (Tunisia), by Gloumouth1.

 

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Comments

  1. CanadianLibyan says:

    Can’t wait for the recipes!!!
    Funny that Tunisians leave the eggs out of shakshouka while in Libyan cooking it is considered the main ingredient: a tomato sauce with eggs scrambled into it and eaten with bread. It is very interesting to see all the slight variations among the North African countries making the same dishes.
    Thanks!

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